Monday, June 11, 2012

The Commuter, or There And Back Again

Veni, Vidi, Vici. I came, I saw, I conquered. Alert readers will remember that I've claimed to be commuting in the MGA for 9 months now. However, in the poor, misguided mentality of the Washington, DC commuting culture I have what would be considered a cream puff commute.  Normally it's 10 minutes on suburban back roads then 5 minutes on the highway at full speed, and I'm there with no traffic unless something really bad has happened. I have found myself defensively explaining my commute when talking to people about the car. Today, however I had an opportunity to do a "real" commute.
Action shot of a light traffic moment.

I live in the far western suburbs of Washington, DC - one of the worst traffic areas in the country (settle down, NYC and LA - I said one of). Today I had a conference one block away from the White House, so I needed to go all the way in -- to leave the comfort of the Shire and journey to the darkest depths of Mordor. I've taken drives as long, and I've been on most of the same roads, but not during the dreaded Rush Hour, and not when I had somewhere to be for work. So this morning I donned my suit and backed out of the garage at 6:30 AM.

I have to say, for a 70 mile round trip it was completely uneventful. Uneventful, but never boring, because being in a glorified go-kart between two semis, being tailgated by a guy in a Lexus reading his cell phone, and having a construction truck cut into the lane in front of you will keep you on your toes. I had two hands on the wheel, paid close attention, and drove defensively the whole way (except for when I took the picture). A lot of people showed they have a lot more faith in my ability to adjust my brakes than I do because they jumped in front of me and stopped suddenly a lot.  I made it down inside the beltway, along the Potomac, into the city, past the White House and into a parking garage in just over 45 minutes. The guard at the garage entrance (it was a Federal building) kiddingly offered to valet park for me.

Safe and sound beneath Pennsylvania Avenue.
No problem fitting in the parking spot... 
It was still early enough that traffic was on the light side on the way down, but I suspected I would not be so lucky on the trip home. I thought about leaving early to beat traffic (I would have wanted to do that in any car), but wound up staying to the end at 4:30, which put me right in the heavy evening rush hour. It was about 90 degrees in stop and go traffic on the way out of the city, but the car held its temperature well. I held my own temperature OK too, with my coat on the seat next to me, and my sleeves rolled up for a little "air conditioning." I was home in just under an hour.

Of the thousands of cars I saw on the way down and back, I saw only two other classic cars, and none as old as mine. One was in the garage just out of view in the picture above, an early 70's wood paneled jeep of some kind. Not as old as mine, but close. The other appeared to be a late 70's Mercedes that ironically is from about three blocks from my house, on the same street as my friend restoring a 1950's Triumph TR3. I got a "hey, nice car!" from a 12 year old, lots of friendly smiles and waves, and no annoyed honks or one-fingered salutes. I hate driving in traffic, but I have to say this was a fun way to do it. It's a shame more people aren't doing the same thing.

1 comment:

  1. I saw a green one yesterday with the license plate: 1969MG